Arizona agency lobbies for wild horse euthanasia

Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), is recommending the Bureau of Land Management euthanize healthy excess wild horses and burros as a management alternative.

In a letter addressed to BLM director Bob Abbey, AZGFD Director Larry Voyles states, “In order to have a truly open dialogue and consideration for all viable management alternatives, the BLM should reconsider the inclusion of two options, which have been identified as “off the table” for the development of the new draft strategy: 1) euthanasia of healthy excess animals, and 2) their sale without limitation.”

While the BLM did indeed request comment from all stake holders on the Bureaus Wild Horse and Burro Strategy Development document until september 3, press releases and the document itself clearly designated these two management alternatives as “off the table”.

BLM’s 2008 announcement that it was considering the euthanasia of more than 30,000 wild horses brought a tidal wave of public outrage. Pressure to mend a broken program followed shortly thereafter. Congress has repeatedly denied funding for euthanasia and all indications are that denial will continue.

The “sale without limitation” clause, already in limited use, came about in 2004 with the now infamous Burns’ Rider NO. 142. An undetected amendment, silently added to an appropriations bill during a Thanksgiving holiday by then Senator Conrad Burns, passed through Congress with no knowledge of its existence and no legislative debate. Sale without limitation allows BLM to sell qualifying equines with no protections for their welfare, usually at a next to nothing price. Within four months after George Bush signed the bill into law in 2005, documented cases of BLM horses sold for slaughter started to surface.

BLM’s current posting on Facebook states, “Since 2005, the Bureau has sold more than 4,100 horses and burros. A Sept 2009 BLM fact sheet refers to such results as achieving, “limited success as implemented.”

The body of AZGFD’s letter reveals an agency, not unlike the BLM itself, basing decisions on obsolete information. Scientific references used to substantiate claims of detrimental effects of wild equids on other forms of wildlife are an average of over 17 years old ,with only 20% being less than 10 years old. One reference cited is a Vertebrae Pest conference from 1974, some 36 years ago. It is doubtful any of these documents would meet National Environmental Protection Agency requirements.

AZGFD expresses concern regarding the “accurate ecological or evolutionary understanding of wild horses and burros on the North American continent. “ The agency’s claim that ,“ wild horses and burros are not native to North America ” is in direct conflict with accepted scientific evidence of Equus Caballus evolution on the North American continent.

Director Larry Voyles offered his expert testimony to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee against passage of the ROAM Act ( HR 1018) in March of last year. It is presumed that at least a portion of his testimony was based on the aforementioned scientific evidence. The Committee voted to pass the act which has since stalled in the Senate.

Perhaps the AZGFD should take their own advice on two important points, “It is imperative, though, that any public outreach, marketing, environmental education, and showcasing accurately and thoroughly tell the story of free-roaming wild horses and burros.” and , ‘ The Department fully supports attempts to research, develop, and incorporate the best scientific knowledge and applications available to aid in the management of wild horses and burros.”


BLM Director Bob Abbey’s Washington office has not responded to multiple requests for comment
Comments on the Wild Horse and Burro Strategy Development Document can be submitted either:

(1) by e-mail to (“WHB Public Comment” is required in the subject line);

(2) by mail to BLM Washington Office, 1849 C Street NW, Rm. 5665, Washington, DC 20240 (if mailing, comments need to be postmarked no later than September 3, 2010); or

(3) using the ePlanning process accessible online at


10 thoughts on “Arizona agency lobbies for wild horse euthanasia”

  1. This is outrageous!! The BLM has its hands in everything. The enormous outrage from the public has backed them into a corner and now they are trying another venue. They need to get stopped immediately. Fire the lot of ba…. I am livid!! Taxpayers ought to stop paying taxes for something we do not want our hard earned dollars to fund. This country is going downhill fast if that is what politicians are closing their eyes to!!


  2. This is about cattle and the cattle people wanting the land. Horses do not destroy the land I owned 3 horses and lived down from a horse farm where the horses would get out almost everyday. I owned a new home, new lawn, these horses would run on my lawn eat it. The next day all the hoof prints were gone. The grass was not destroyed. Everything was fine. They do not eat the roots cattle do. Cattle are the worse destroyers of land, and if we allow the cattle to take over soon there will be a dust bowl. The gov created the first dust bowl by telling the farmers to farm the first few years was good until they used up all the top soil. Down to dust. That is what created the dust bowl with no rain and no top soil which was farmed away. No one told the farmers this is what will happen. Same here no one is telling people that the cattle are going to eat the grass down to nothing and if there is no rain another dust bowl. That is why the cattle people want more land they know this is what will happen.


  3. Cattle totally destroy the Land , they eat everything including the roots of foliage , Horses do not I repeat dont not destroy the foliage , they do not eat the roots……………..The foliage can return …………. Cattle Destroy everything in its path of food !!!!!!!!!!


  4. They are not land, although they use it and live on it, they are not fish or game although they are hunted and killed…why are the agencies responsidle for horses and burros all agencies with other agenda….why is there not specifically an agency or council with the welfare of the horses and burros at heart…why not set one up…surely the Act of 1971 shows the will to protect these creatures from us…we are after all the major predator in their lives…………The idae of euthanizing healthy viable and protected animals is the worst idea yet…the selling to anyone is just as bad…20,000 horses on 32 million acres….160 million acres with cattle grazing on them…you do the math…cattle make money for someone…horses do not…except for slaughter…or sale…bottom line is always money…never the animals welfare


  5. How about if we euthanize some of the populace? Over-population is what’s causing 99% of the world’s problems, including this one. Let’s give the wild horses some “people rifles” and let ’em have at it. I don’t much care for humans anyhow; look at the destruction that has been done to this planet!! ….surely wasn’t done by any animals. Animals live in harmony with the environment – humans rape the environment. End of rant….

    BLM’s motto: If you can’t fix it, kill it.


  6. This is an unspeakable betrayal of the horses and also the mission of these Federal Angencies to protect wildlife. According to secret memos from the Bureau of Mismanagement this was a long term plan but is not good PR. How clever to have an official from a brother agency to suggest to BM what it was planning to do.


  7. What a bunch of cold hearted buttheads. Between BLM and AZ fish and game these poor horses will be extinct in no time. How dare they go against the US citizens/taxpayers wishes


  8. Hummm I didnt know the fish and game people were experts on horses also????? I think one would have to just laugh at their ridiculous statement. Where does common sense take over?????????????? Jeeze, it would have been better for them if they just kept their mouths shut on a subject that they have no expertise in ……… Feel sorry for the fish now also!!!!!!


  9. What are they crazy kill innocent horses. that is just like the concentration camps, killing innocent people for one persons gain.
    this would accomplish nothing,
    who thinks of this stuff anyway, excess monies can be found, just eliminate the the jobs of these deadbeats and take that money and pay for the horses.
    or better yet let them live their lives free and let mother nature take care of its own like it has been doing for millions of years.




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